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Reflections

Reflections takes different stakeholder vantage points and attempts to see how they will be impacted by emerging change. It is a good way to quickly identify the key opportunities and risks inherent in an issue, to determine different future possibilities and alternate long-term strategies.

Uses of the method

  • Puts the user at the center of the debate with others.

Benefits

  • Fast understanding of the questions that need asking
  • Valuable method to ensure that all the relevant issues have been considered
  • Systematic, comprehensive and multi-purpose
  • Fast and ultra-low cost
  • Can be used by both individual analysts and teams

Disadvantages

  • May be incomplete if not used with other methods or iterations do not go deep enough.

Steps to complete

  • Considering the topic, Insight or Trend ask each question in turn and produce rough answers
  • Avoid criticizing others ideas or censoring people
  • Listen to and build off of others ideas 
  • Generate lots of ideas and allow the session to free-wheel
  • Don't allow discussion or questioning though light clarification of an idea may be helpful at this stage
  • Sort your ideas into priority order or a logical order.
  • Capture your most exciting idea and biggest fear
  • Determine the fixed factors (almost certain hard trends) that will inform your strategic response: slow-changing phenomena e.g. demographic shifts, constrained situations e.g. resource limits, in the pipeline e.g. aging of baby boomers, inevitable collisions e.g. climate change arguments.
  • Capture variable factors: critical uncertainties i.e. variables, soft trends and potential surprises. Both these and the predetermined elements will be key to creating scenarios and examining potential future paradigm shifts.
  • Capture unique insight into new ways of seeing that can be utilized by the organization. What are the advantages and disadvantages?
  • State alternative hypotheses drawn with different assumptions and judgments.
  • Consider what factors would likely change your mind through receipt of new information.
  • Determine which factors could surprise and alter your judgment and the direction of the outcome.
  • Consider what factors would likely change your mind through receipt of new information.
  • Determine which factors could surprise and alter your judgment and the direction of the outcome.
  • What conclusions can we draw from the exercise(s)
    • How might the future be different?
    • How does A affect B?
    • What is likely to remain the same or change significantly?
    • What are the likely outcomes?
    • What and who will likely shape our future?
    • Where could we be most affected by change?
    • What might we do about it?
    • What don't we know that we need to know?
    • What should we do now, today?
    • Why do we care?
    • When should we aim to meet on this?

Finish by noting your next steps. Next steps could include a further round of iteration, a recommendation on how to get the answers or use of other research and methods such as 'Starburst' to create more vantage points on the issue. Repeat the exercise from a different perspective e.g. taking a negative view or an unusual position, or from the viewpoint of another stakeholder. (see the Tear-Down thinking method here).

Collaboration
This method and your response can be shared with other members or kept private using the 'Privacy' field and through the 'Tag', 'Report' and 'Forum' functionalities. Use 'Tag' and/or 'Report' to aggregate your analyzes, or add a 'Forum' to ask others where they agree/disagree and encourage them to make their own analysis from their unique vantage point.

Click the 'Invite tab to send invitations to other members or non-members (colleagues, external experts etc.) to ask for their input. You can whether or not you want anonymous responses.  These can be viewed and exported within the Responses tab.

Further reference

History
This simple method of evaluating the impact of emerging change on other stakeholders  was first suggested by KPMG in July 2012.

Contact us
Even with all the advice and tools we have provided here starting a foresight project from scratch can be a daunting prospect to a beginner. Let us know if you need help with this method or want a group facilitation exercise or full project or program carrying out by us. We promise to leave behind more internal knowledgeable people who can expand your initiative for better organizational performance.

Contact us today for a free discussion on your needs.

Are there other enhancements or new methods you would like to see here? Let us know and we will do our best to respond with a solution quickly.

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